Florida: By air or by sea, enjoy some offbeat attractions

Jan 18, 2018
  • By Tracey Teo
  • For the AJC
The National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Fla., exhibits more than 150 vintage, restored aircraft. CONTRIBUTED BY WESLEY K.H. TEO

NATIONAL NAVAL AVIATION MUSEUM

Visit this museum at the Pensacola Naval Air Station not only to watch the synchronized maneuvers of the Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy’s flight demonstration squadron, but to get a feel for what it would be like to be in the cockpit. Just strap yourself into a two-person MaxFlight 3-D simulator and take to the virtual skies. Brace yourself for a stomach-churning nose dive that emulates the thrill of a Blue Angels airshow.

1750 Radford Blvd., Pensacola, Fla. 1-800-327-5002, navalaviationmuseum.org@NavalMuseum

NEPTUNE MEMORIAL REEF

This underwater cemetery operated by the Neptune Society may just be one of the quirkiest destinations in Florida. Located in open waters 3 miles off the coast of Key Biscayne, this submerged burial spot is an interpretation of the lost city of Atlantis. Below the waves are graceful statues, gates and a reef set with plaques that commemorate the deceased. It’s the final resting place for those who loved the sea, but living, breathing divers who aren’t quite ready to sleep with the fishes are welcome.

1-877-370-7333, nmreef.com

PONCE DE LEON’S FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK

It’s not as effective as Botox, but a visit to the somewhat kitschy Fountain of Youth is still worth the trip. Ponce de Leon explored the area that is now St. Augustine in 1513, more than 50 years before the city was founded, and the 25-acre park is a tribute to the Spanish explorer.

Enter through an arch of live oaks draped in Spanish moss, then join a guided tour of the beautiful, well-maintained grounds. Highlights include a replica of a Franciscan mission and a Timucuan Indian village. To drink from the “fountain of youth,” make your way to the springhouse.

11 Magnolia Ave., St. Augustine, Fla. 904-829-3168, fountainofyouthflorida.com

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